What’s So Amazing About Grace?

This is the second time I’ve read this book.

The first time was in the summer before my senior year of college when I was taking a summer school class about the New Testament. This book was on my required reading list, but my library didn’t have it, and I didn’t feel like buying it on Amazon. So I drove to the library in the next town to get it, circled around the parking lot looking for a place to park, and suddenly this pole appeared out of nowhere, and I crashed my parents’ car into a pole. This could probably go down in history as my most brilliant move ever.

In that moment, I remember pounding my head on the steering wheel and groaning, “God… I didn’t need an object lesson.”  Continue reading

The Stories that are Unfinished

I remember learning about the elements of a story in my elementary school library, looking up at the overhead projector from my little table by the card catalog.  We learned that a story has a setting, characters, a plot, a conflict, and a resolution.  Nowadays, story has become a bit of a buzzword, as we often discuss how to tell a better story with our lives and write it in a way that draws other people in.  Continue reading

The Hardest Part of Leaving

For months, I dreamed about leaving.

I sat in coffee shops talking with friends about how we were going to live more exciting lives some day, I recorded every episode of House Hunters International, and I spent a lot of time taking virtual vacations on Google Street View.

For years before that, I dreamed about staying. 

I wanted to put down roots, to form lifelong friendships, to find a job I loved, and to spend less time hauling boxes in and out of dorm rooms and houses and city apartments.  I’ve always known there’s something valuable about staying.  Communities need the ones who stay—the ones who are dedicated and responsible and stable.  In the English language, it’s hard to describe the need to leave without using words like flighty, restless, or discontent, and that’s not who I wanted to be.  Continue reading

Sacred Places

Sometimes, I imagine people praying with their hands.  Building expectations and wishes and questions into brick and mortar and stone.

There’s something about great loss that makes us want to build something—we build war memorials and monuments and churches that symbolize what we’ve lost.  Maybe there’s something about stacking bricks and pouring concrete and carving wood that makes us feel like we’re doing something when life seems meaningless.  When we’re faced with a void, we fill the empty space with something tangible.  Continue reading

Suddenly, Everything Changed (New post for Single Roots)

“Enjoy it while you can, honey, because once you’re married you’ll just wish you could be single again.”

I’ve heard this one a few times, along with various other pieces of jaded advice from unhappily married women or well-intentioned friends who are trying to make me feel better. I’m sure most singles have experienced this — the “You should be happy you’re single, because marriage isn’t all its cracked up to be” pep talk. When we’re thinking about something we don’t have yet, it’s easy to console ourselves by writing it off and saying it must not be that great anyway. Continue reading

Sunset from Kiliney Hill (Ireland)

Sunset from Kiliney Hill (Ireland)

The Story of Hope and Heartbreak

I want to believe in miracles. 

I want to believe that crazy, unexplainable things are possible.  I want to believe that sometimes, life is so good that you want to laugh and cry and scream and sing all at once.  I want to believe that everything can change in a single moment and one day you will realize this is why.  This is why I love this place.  This is why my heart was broken. This is why I’ve waited.  This, right here.  I want to believe what Victor Frankl says about redemption—that while bad experiences cannot be erased, they can be redeemed.  Continue reading